Charles Sanchez, a district service officer, assist a veteran with his benefits during The American Legion's Veterans Crisis Command Center in Fayetteville, N.C. (Photo by Timothy L. Hale)

Legion to set up veterans crisis center in Colorado

The American Legion is sending a team of its experts to Fort Collins, Colo., in response to a recent Department of Veterans Affairs internal investigation that showed long wait times for veterans seeking treatment at a local VA community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC).

The VA investigation showed that many of the veterans treated at the Fort Collins CBOC had to wait several months for their appointments, and clerks there were instructed on how to falsify appointment records so it appeared the clinic was meeting VA’s goal of scheduling veterans for medical appointments within 14 days.

Members of The American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force will hold a town hall meeting and operate a crisis center for local veterans and family members affected by delays in getting access to their health care at the Fort Collins CBOC.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 14 at American Legion Post 4 on 2124 Country Road 54 G in Fort Collins. The meeting is open to the general public and local veterans are encouraged to attend, especially those affected by wait-time delays.

The American Legion will also set up a Veterans Crisis Command Center at Post 4 from July 15-18. Members of the Legion’s national staff, along with local Legionnaires, staff from VA facilities and volunteers from other organizations will be on hand to assist veterans and their families. Services provided will include assistance in filing for VA appointment scheduling, grief counseling, benefits claims, and help with enrollment in VA health care.

Operating hours for the crisis center at Post 4 are noon to 8 p.m. on July 15, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the 16th and 17th, and 8 a.m. to noon on the 18th.

The American Legion, with help from the VA and other organizations, has been operating week-long crisis centers for veterans and family members since early June in Phoenix, Fayetteville, N.C., and El Paso, Texas. The Legion plans to operate such centers throughout the summer in several cities affected by delayed VA health care.